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One Algerian security official said it was not the first convoy to make the trek, adding, “If the Gaddafi regime goes, it is the whole of Libya…which will disappear, at least for a good time, long enough for AQIM to re-deploy as far as the Libyan Mediterranean.”
In Yemen, President Ali Abdullah Saleh faces mounting threats to his regime’s survival from AQAP, already considered by American officials as posing the greatest threat to US Homeland security.
As Saleh has pulled back his armed forces to defend the capital city of Sanaa, AQAP has taken control of four provinces, including Yemen’s historical capital of Abyan. Abyan, where American and Yemeni counterterrorism activities have been mostly focused, is now referred to by Jihadist websites as the “Islamic Emirate of Abyan.”
In Gaza, a large collection of al-Qaeda-affiliated terror groups, having capitalized on growing popular discontent with Hamas rule, remain locked with the terror organization in a growing battle for supremacy in the Gaza Strip. The latest incident in this struggle occurred when an al-Qaeda group under the name “Jihadist Salafi” killed an Italian pro-Palestinian activist for Hamas’ refusal to release its leader, Hesham al-Sa’eedni, whom Hamas arrested last month.
In Jordan, members of the radical fundamentalist Salafi Muslims demanding the release of 200 al-Qaeda-linked prisoners attacked Jordanian loyalists in an encounter that left one dead and dozens injured. As one Salafi leader exhorted the protesters, “One day all the Arab world will be ours. We will have Sharia law rule in Jordan. It’s only a matter of time.”
In Iraq, al-Qaeda-linked terrorists laid siege to a local government building in Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein, and engaged in a four-hour gun battle with Iraqi security forces. The standoff, which left 56 people killed and over 100 wounded, ended when the eight terrorists blew themselves up.
Finally, serving as a backdrop to an al-Qaeda upswing is the disturbing news from recently released WikiLeaks documents that al-Qaeda may be on the verge of acquiring a nuclear “dirty bomb.” The documents show that since 2007, al-Qaeda has made “greater advances” in bioterrorism than was previously realized and may now possess the technical competence to “manufacture an explosive device beyond a mere dirty bomb.”
Still, there seems to be a strong belief that the Arab Spring has signaled that al-Qaeda’s best days to are behind it. While this may prove to be true, it is still to be determined who will replace it. That is the simple question posed by Saudi-born American Samir Khan, the publisher of al-Qaeda’s Inspire magazine, who asked in a recent edition: “The question now comes: what do you do if your government decides not to rule by Shariah? Who does your loyalty go to? The State or Allah?”
Perhaps, the lethal endurance and pervasiveness now being demonstrated by al-Qaeda suggests the answer.
Frank Crimi is a writer living in San Diego, California. You can read more of Frank’s work at his blog, www.politicallyunbalanced.com.
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